Wigan Warriors' George Williams 'agrees three-year deal' to join Canberra Raiders

George Williams in action against Huddersfield last Friday
George Williams in action against Huddersfield last Friday

​Canberra Raiders appear to have won the race to sign George Williams.

It is understood he has agreed a three-year deal with the NRL outfit, starting next season.

Williams’ future has been the subject of intense speculation during the start of this year, with New Zealand Warriors also thought to be in the running.

Sky Sports’ Brian Carney last week said he “can tell you with conviction that George Williams will be in the NRL in 2020.”

And it seems the 24-year-old will be linking-up with ex-Wigan team-mates John Bateman and Ryan Sutton in the Australian capital.

Canberra will pay Wigan a fee to secure his release from the final year of his marquee contract.

They had initially been reluctant to spend but had a rethink after being made aware of other interest in him. Academy-product Williams, who has not been made available to speak to the media by his club for the past fortnight, has never shied away from his ambition to test himself Down Under.

He had offers in 2017, prompting Wigan to upgrade his contract to marquee status – meaning only £75,000 of his lucrative deal counts on the salary cap.

His current deal runs until the end of next season although the Warriors have an option for 2021 in their favour.

Adrian Lam had predicted Williams would benefit the most from his coaching. But he admitted the rumbling speculation had impacted on the England international’s form.

“If he is in negotiations with them then it’s got to take an effect on him,” he said days after the 18-16 loss in London.

“I think it probably did last week in the performance, you could see some of that.”

Canberra already have four English players in their squad – including Sutton and Bateman, who are both poised to make their NRL debuts at Gold Coast this Sunday.